NFL Free Agency 2011: 5 Marquee Names Who Aren't Going Anywhere
While the NFL and its players remain tangled in a legal battle over a new collective bargaining agreement, a typically interesting off-season of free agent acquisitions has been put on hold.
When the free agency period does resume, it's unclear what the rules will be. On one hand, the league could simply retain its current format. But no decision has been announced, therefore a whole new set of guidelines might need to be taken into account.
Whatever happens and whenever it happens, some things are sure to remain the same.
While a change of scenery sometimes does an NFL career a world of good, here are five big-name free agents who are going to stay with their current teams.
When you're the NFL's leading rusher, you're services are going to be in demand.
Welcome to the world of Houston Texans running back Arian Foster—or not.
His 1,616 yards were by far the league's best, seemingly putting the third-year player in a position of great leverage. Add to that his ability to catch the football (66 receptions, 600 yards) and score touchdowns (18 last season) and you've got one heck of a weapon.
The Houston defense will be switching to a 3-4 scheme, but Texans GM Rick Smith likes the offense the way it is. And future plans include Arian Foster, who was sent down the exclusive rights free agency path.
Barring any rules changes, he'll remain in Houston for $480,000 in 2011—whether he likes it or not. But, if Foster remains healthy—and productive—his big pay day coming.
With a total of one year of experience among their top two quarterbacks—rookie Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen—the Carolina Panthers are going to need all the help they can get from their running game in 2011.
Enter DeAngelo Williams. And a new contract.
Williams was hobbled by a foot injury in 2010, limiting his production to a mere six games. If he's back at 100 percent, he'll rejoin Jonathan Stewart as an effective one-two punch out of the Panthers' backfield.
A Carolina ground game will be a young quarterback's best friend. And first-year head coach Ron Rivera is already counting on Williams as part of his future plans.
The Minnesota Vikings need Sidney Rice in their offensive arsenal, especially with rookie quarterback Christian Ponder entering the picture.
At 24-years-old, Rice is just entering the prime of his NFL career and his acrobatic catches after returning from hip surgery last season proved he was healthy again.
In a lineup that includes an uncertain Percy Harvin (migraines) and a corps of unproven talent, Minnesota will come to their senses and show Rice the money.
After resurrecting his career in Philadelphia last season, Michael Vick solidified his position as the Eagles full-time starting quarterback for 2011.
Twenty-one touchdowns to six interceptions; 3,018 yards passing; a 100.2 passer rating. Those are the numbers of the All-Pro starter Vick was in 2010.
His athletic ability alone will help him maintain that pace. But as long as he can keep his life on the straight and narrow, the Eagles are a perfect fit for Vick's style. In fact, if all things remain healthy in Philadelphia, he should duplicate last year's performance.
Peyton Manning practically owns the Indianapolis Colts. He can name his price and the Colts will pay it. In fact, expect him to be the highest paid player in NFL history before all is said and done.
If ever an NFL player has earned his way into such an envious situation, four-time league MVP Peyton Manning is that player.
The accolades are far too numerous to mention. It's pay day.